Wind Mills

The ones who stayed
and braved the storm (together)

looked a lot like us
(had we dared to survive).
In love and leaning against
each other’s spine. Holding back
the wind that came to rip away.

The force with which their tragedy
arrived met them ill prepared.
A force so strong it swept
them to surrender. Now,

they are on their bellies
hanging on to the crook of
each other’s hands. Praying
with their eyes closed and
veins strained because

there isn’t much choice when
the pillar collapses nor is there
a way to keep the ground from
shaking. There is only the need to
survive and the blades are rotating

with enough conviction to generate
a spark that will transcend pain.
I see them in the middle of this
cyclone rotating clockwise

I see them tattered, when it calms,
still holding on by the fingertips.

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They used to be boys.

{listen to audio as you read :)}

I wonder about the boys
who wake early to rip the air out of lungs,
Boys, because they are still their mother’s sons,
Boys, because they once sat at their father’s feet.

I wonder what they were like when they were younger,
Did they play football barefeet while the sun kissed their backs?
Did they dance in the rain or play in its puddles?
or run around in singlets and shorts belting out laughs?
Did they bruise their knees climbing guava trees?
Did the northern wind wrap them in its calm?
I wonder if they ever wished on stars
or played police and thief under the moonlight ?

I wonder if they ever thought about the future,
Did they know that they would
One day shake the foundations of an entire nation?
Did they know that they would be the reason why
sons never see their fathers again?
and mothers never hear their daughters laugh?
Did they know that they would,like forgotten treasure,
bury fear in the hearts of the young and old alike?
Did they know that they would stop thousands of hearts from beating?

I wonder if they pray to God at night,
Do they ask for forgiveness for taking away his children’s tomorrow?
Do they know there are people whose knees are sore from praying
that life cuts open their hearts to put the same amount of pain they have put out?
Do they know we are still waiting for our girls?
The ones they took in broad daylight from their school
and that their mothers are left with sobs knotted in their throats and sand in their hands?
I want to know because we have wailed and prayed and marched,
and all we have left are hissing lungs and faint breath,
We are tired and shaken,
afraid to leave our houses,
afraid to go to bus stations or malls,
afraid to even visit the house of God.

You know,
they used to be boys; our boys,
until they waged war on us,
They used to be ours
until they stained our streets with blood,
Now I wonder if they know a bomb lays where their hearts once stood,
I wonder if they know that beneath the mess they have made,
lay our brothers and our sisters,
limbs ripped off, flesh hanging loose,
beneath the rubble there are no tribes or religion,
no northerners or southerners, only children.
God’s children.

In Loving Memory of who I was 3 years ago.

I think that videos, pictures and journals are ultimately important parts of our lives.
They capture us in a moment, a feeling, a phase, a season and most importantly, in our entirety.
They capture an outpour of happiness or rage, hope or fear or nothingness.
They capture us as girls or almost-women, boys or almost-men, or neither.
We are suspended in time in that one moment…and everything we are is captured as well.
All the things we believe about ourselves, all the things we are afraid of,
Our view of the world, our hopes… dreams… all caught in a single moment.

I was just watching a video I made 3 years ago and right from the sound of my voice I could tell that I am a different person from who i was then. I could actually hear it. I had just finished W.A.E.C, I was about to go home, but I decided to make a quick video of all my classmates (I’m so glad I did).

Looking at our due hairs, skinny wrists, makeup-free faces and extremely visible neck bones, I can see hope and exuberance for life glittering in our eyes. We were children so ready to take on the world, our dreams seemed attainable…. We didn’t want to write N.E.C.O, we just wanted to graduate from secondary school and face the world.

We would sit around in circles and talk about College; how we would dress, if we’d go to clubs or not, if we would date white boys or not and all the things we wanted to achieve. Renowned Lawyers, doctors, engineers, MBGNs, talk show hosts, politicians, C.E.Os. , As far as I can remember, we had big dreams. We all wanted to find true love, we all loved Jesus.

I spoke a little more pidgin English then, than I do now (I guess I realized I sounded awful so I just stopped). I had all these ideologies and beliefs on how the world should work. I had a picture in my head of how my life would play out. I wanted to be a lawyer. I knew I hated business. I didn’t like tattoos and I wanted to be a writer.

Zooming in on my classmates’ faces with my camera, I can see they all felt the way I did. We just couldn’t wait to be done with boarding school and all that came with it. We wanted to grow up and make our own decisions. In that classroom, *moving my camera from person to person* some were in love with people who didn’t love them back , some had people who loved them but they didn’t feel the same, some others wished someone would like them…. the others really didn’t care.

We had spent a maximum of six years in each other’s lives. We slept in the same dormitory, borrowed sports wear shorts and shirts, we made deals with our foods, we knew who liked Thursday fish and who didn’t, we knew our families, we played on the same soccer field, we knew our strengths and weakness, and we were family!

We are all different now. I am different. I don’t want to be a lawyer anymore. I think tattoos are cool. I love being a business student and I still want to be a writer (that hasn’t changed). I’m sure a lot of us have had a change of heart about a lot of things. We’ve grown and we’ve found ourselves. We’ve put on some weight and lost some. We understand that people are entitled to their own religious beliefs. Some have had questions about all we were taught at bible club… some have found answers. Some haven’t. Some smoke weed, drink lots of beer, and talk about sex alot.

We have seen that making friends is not as easy and we can’t stop reminiscing about high school days. We have seen that we owe the world our kindness and even good people are victims of tragedy. We realize we have to work extra hard to be extra ordinary and if we want success, we have to go out and find it.

I am sitting here looking at my sixteen-year-old self, listening to my voice and hearing my laugh. If there is one thing I would say to her, it would be, “life will push you and bend you but you won’t break, you will grow. You will be a witness to miracles and you will hear of tragedies… all of these will teach you to appreciate life. The pursuit of happiness is futile…. aim for wholeness. Do not wait for anyone … Chase your dreams no matter what! and Finally, Learn !…read !…write ! and grow!  Believe in that fire in your heart and in your eyes… most of all Believe in the one who put it there.”

And If there’s one thing I want from the girl in this video…. It is the fearlessness in her voice and in her spirit. The belief that she could do anything.. Be anything. I really want that back.